Feature Request: Pre-Knob Master Level

As the subject line suggests.

An option to have the pre-master knob master level displayed on the VU meters.

Like how Rane does it? Not a fan of that. Rane does at least make max their unity by default. Not a fan of the Pioneer method with the pad after the knob, either. Denon gives you the option of setting proper -10dB pre master knob pad so you can keep the knob at max and still see where you are from real full scale on the DACs. Better for the sound and way better for the health of the sound system with a knob just begging for certain people to twiddle with it otherwise. I suggest you use the booth, record, SPDIF, or USB audio if you need an output level that’s different than current master meter.

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I want the ability to switch between the two.

Only if the option is accompanied by the flashing words “lying” near the master meter. :wink:

It’s not lying if it is summing all channels before hitting master/booth/record/digital outputs. Every DAW has given us this option since I can remember in order set a proper gain stage on the master.

But a DAWs a DAW and a mixer is a mixer. Why add a lingering light to the VU ladder that the majority of DJs won’t use, need, understand or be able to set properly on-the-fly. Worse still, some will even think that an led on the ladder has simply jammed on

A DAW is a DAW and a mixer is a mixer. A DAW does not contain an output outside of its in-situ audio coding. If your interface has its own pop up software mixer window, you can control the DAW’s output fed into an actual analog output. The DAW’s master meter tells you honestly the summed DAW master if you bounce it down or render it to an audio file. The mixer master meter should be telling you how far away from clipping the master outs you actually are. That’s what it’s there for.

Exact same phrase. Dude… like minds.

Not sure what you mean about ladder LED. You talking to me or Hell? I was making a joke not seriously suggesting we get another thing lighting up there.

Interestingly and kind of funny, too, the “clip” word on the newest Pioneer DJ mixers is specifically because their input meters do lie even though their trim/gain knobs do control the level of the analog inputs. Most other digital mixers are fixed-gain inputs that you really can’t trim analog inputs on, the old Tascam being the exception but it didn’t really have pure digital inputs, anyway. It was based off their studio mixers from the era before sample rate conversion for SPDIF.

Correct, but at some point, someone is going to want to plug an Akai Force and 3 hardware synths into this mixer for a live performance. In the studio, I can use my ears to ensure my summing is correct prior to output, but in a live situation, you have to rely on your eyes sometimes (due to house sound just not being up to par).

I don’t see how any of that matters. Put the master out pad in the X1800 utility/settings at -10 and put the master volume knob at max. Leave it there. Whatever you’re trying to do, don’t touch that knob and find another way. There doesn’t even need to be a knob there in the first place. They should give you the option of making it “resonance” or something.

Unfortunately, not all house sound setups have anything in between your mixer and the rack. So yeah, i could run booth to their house and run the master to my booth, but then my booth has no usable volume control if I want to see a summed total value on output. Now I have thought about just making a VU meter to throw on the record out.

That’s the venue’s problem, not the DJ’s. The DJ should not be controlling the house volume beyond the DJ’s own metered redline once the house level has been set based on whatever master out pad setting the DJ’s mixer is using. That’s why on a Rane you have them run with their master pot on max into the house system, because then they can’t go any further. I don’t understand why you think the ability to boost past the pre-set max output of the mixer during sound checks is something that should be in the hands of the DJ. It’s bad enough to have DJ’s double redlining and not watching what they’re doing, but basically what you’re asking for is the house volume completely in the hands of the DJ.

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Ok I’m actually a sound engineer for a couple of venues so here’s my take on it.

Any venue worth playing in will always have some sort of limiter (or more common, full DSP processing) - this is a simple measure to protect the speakers from being driven too hard by idiots and blowing.

This means the DJ can redline as much as they want, but once they start hitting the limiter, the signal gets cut off at the top and bottom extremes causing it to sound like absolute crap front-of-house.

Having a DJ mixer going directly into the amps without any processor beforehand is a recipe for disaster so even small bars tend to have a cheap processor before the amps in the signal chain.

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Although I understand the processing, I wouldn’t want a deejay redlining on his mixer. You’ll get distorted sound into your processor.

True but then I operate on the opinion that a DJ should know better - besides for any guest DJs or new ones who haven’t played in the venues before, I setup a separate mixing console at front-of-house so I can monitor what they’re feeding in and yell at them if they constantly redline.

Yes definitely true and my opinion also, but not all “young” deejays understand what they’re doing unfortunately.

  1. You can’t reasonably assume DJs know better.

  2. A separate front-of-house mixing console is no longer necessary and is often detrimental to sound quality with state-of-the-art DJ mixers. I understand that some venues still keep them in the chain, however.

A limiter does not protect woofers unless it’s limiting so extremely that it’s cutting gain by 60-75%, is a special average-volume-based thermal limiter, or the amp its limiting the signal into is rated way below the driver’s rated power handling. If we’re talking powered speakers, manufacturers rarely put amps that weak into their boxes paired with a given driver, or drivers with such high handling characteristics for a given amp power. Powered boxes’ limiters are usually just amp output limiters, and nowadays are an electrical requirement with the use of Class-D PWM amplifiers.

A peak limiter prior to the amp output stage barely even protects tweeters from clipping harmonics. Tweeters nowadays, though, sometimes have their own built-in protection at the pro tier. But a peak limiter is essential on amp outputs to afford at least some protection against hard amp clip output ultrasonic harmonics that could kill a tweeter, since those can shoot way past an amp’s rated power and into frequencies way above the tweeter’s linearity range. As previously stated, on PWM power amps this is not even optional.

RMS is usually what kills woofers and a driver’s thermal limits will be reached far sooner than its peak ones. Peaks rarely kill a woofer anymore at the pro level due to the durability of the surrounds, spiders, and rear magnet assemblies. You usually would have to be intentionally doing that nowadays with some kind of bizarre, brief extreme peak test using irrational amp outputs to kill a woofer with a peak. And a limiter does not prevent increases in RMS, but rather encourages it since it’s a more pleasant-sounding compression than hitting the hard wall of digital full scale that tends to dissuade people from stupidly doing it.

The one instance where an additional limiter is highly desirable in a house system is after a signal chain that is using analog mixers and especially when microphoned bands are being run. There’s no reason for a limiter with digital mixers in live venue situations. In the studio, sure, it’s got some use to turn a digital mixer’s own limiter on to prevent mess ups from streaming live or ending up on a recording. Live, though, you’re asking for trouble.

Unless you are lucky enough to be working in a high-end club, with rental kit or touring kit, most house systems only have analogue mixers still. Digital mixers are too expensive for most venues to bother with, hence why in the venues I work in, I have limiters active on the DSP.

Plus if you have a good DSP, with multiple outputs, you can disable the limiters on the sub channels but have them active on mids and highs.